Archive for January, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency?s (EPA) December decision to prevent California from regulating automobile emissions beyond national standards may have puzzled some but not me. The way I see it they [EPA] are conceding to the auto manufacturers in this matter. The auto makers are not wanting this to pass.
So EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, ( a Bush appointee) totally ignored his staffs advice that California and other states had good reason to enact global warming pollution standards higher than the federal rules and denied a waiver required for states to move forward with tougher emission control standards.

Apparently EPA staffers presented evidence to Johnson last year that shows California has met the “compelling and extraordinary conditions” needed under the Clean Air Act for the EPA to approve regulations set by the state. Staff members made a strong case for California and 18 other states to proceed with its greenhouse gas regulations. After dragging its heels for weeks the agency has allowed Sen. Barbara Boxer‘s (D California ) staff to see the documents this week. He [Johnson] Should be on the hot seat today when he appears before Boxer’s, Environment and Public Works Committee.

Initially the EPA refused to turn over any documents to Boxer’s committee. Then when they finally did turn them over they had many of the pages “whited” out. When Boxer raised objections the EPA agreed to allow staff members to see the documents but they could not photocopy them and ended up hand transcribing the documents that were then released to reporters. “This information belongs to the American people,” Boxer said. “It’s shameful that we’ve had to go through such a torturous process to get it.”

California feels they have greater risk from impacts of global warming than most other states do. Something that is supported by scientists at the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is one that is headed for the courts.

Despite the public outcry of conservationists, animal rights groups and just plain wolf lovers the Fish & Wildlife Service has made it easier to kill wolves in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Rockies region — even while they remain protected under the Endangered Species Act. The change to the rules will make it easier to slaughter wolves in Idaho,Wyoming and Montana. They could potentially kill hundreds of wolves, not because they are a threat to livestock but to try and increase deer and elk herds for more hunter kills.

The states would only need to prove that wolves are a “major cause” of the inability of elk and deer to meet state management goals. Wolves could be killed even if they only have an effect on how elk herds move or behave — not just if they reduce herd numbers. Predators like wolves actually help keep the herds strong by weeding out the sick and weak members. I would think that a real hunter would prefer hunting healthy alert animals rather than a game farm situation.

Since the gray wolf was reintroduced into the greater Yellowstone area they have helped balance out nature as it was meant to be. They suppress coyotes, change the behavior of deer and elk plus they benefit the grizzly bear by leaving kills that the bears quickly take over for themselves. For a little while we appeared to have came to our senses and realized we can coexist with the wolf. But it appears we are throwing that out the window with this loophole in the Endangered Species Act.

Everyone that reads this should contact your representatives in Washington DC to stop this before it goes any further.

A recent study says FEMA ignored and hid government research on the effects of formaldehyde in trailers used by victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Even going so far as to manipulate the findings so as to play down the dangers posed by the chemical. Though a FEMA spokesperson denies the charges saying [the agency] “did not suppress or inappropriately influence any report.”

Formaldehyde is commonly found in building materials especially those found in mobile homes. I worked in the mobile home industry doing everything from set-ups, truck driving, repairs and factory service. I remember all too well the acrid burning sting of going into a new trailer house and smelling the formaldehyde in the air. Most homes had aluminum vents situated so they would allow fresh air in and the formaldehyde to escape, while insuring that the window would not allow moisture or insects inside the new home. I would suspect that anyone with the least amount of common sense would insure that new trailers were aired out before residence is take up inside of them. But then again this is the federal government we are talking about and common sense goes right out the window with them. Just more college educated idiots in my book. Go out onto job sites and they are everywhere. Out of school with a degree in hand and not a clue as to what is really happening. But even these fools should know that formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical that can cause respiratory complications and has been classified as a carcinogen.

Spearheading the investigation is Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C. of the House Science and Technology Committee. The committee is looking into reports that show how FEMA ignored expert Christopher De Rosa who said,
“Any level of exposure to formaldehyde may pose a cancer risk, regardless of duration, failure to communicate this issue is possibly misleading and a threat to public health.” FEMA used data from unoccupied trailers that had aired out several days and then they compared them to federal standards for short term exposure never comparing them to long term exposure. As a matter of fact they even instructed scientists to leave out the details of long term exposure. I agree with Rep. Miller when he said, “Honest scientific studies don’t start with the conclusion, and then work backwards from there”.

They are currently testing a mere 500 out of 40,000 trailers and are expected to give their most likely flawed reports in February and May. Don’t hold your breath expecting an honest review. Honesty has been infrequent when it comes to anything under the executive branch the past seven years.

??? On Friday the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments deciding whether smokers may file court challenges, based on state law, to cigarette companies? advertising claims that some brands are ?light? or ?low in tar and nicotine.? The cigarettes case, Altria Group (owns Phillip Morris) v. Good, – [docket number 07-562] – was one of six the court accepted for review Friday. The U. S. Chamber of Commerce is supporting Altria as they believe a loss could extend product liabilities to other industries besides just tobacco.

??? As many of you know I have just recently quit smoking cigarettes myself but never let myself believe that a light cigarette was any healthier for you than a full flavored one. I could taste a big difference between full flavors and milder brands. I never thought they had less tar and nicotine just a lot less flavor. The plaintiffs in this case claim to have smoked Marlboro Lights for 15 years and claim that that Phillip Morris marketed them under false pretenses. They claim that the big tobacco companies know that smokers of light, ultra light, or mild cigarettes simply make up for the lowered nicotine levels by holding the smoke in longer or smoking more cigarettes to compensate for the lowered levels.

??? It sounds to me as if they were doing it to themselves. No one from the tobacco industry came and twisted my arm and forced me to start smoking cigarettes, and I feel fairly confident that they were not forced to smoke either. Heck there is even a warning on the side of each pack that tells you that “smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.

??? I don’t know the surgeon general personally but I feel pretty confident that he knows what he is talking about, and that if it were not so then the lobbyists for big tobacco would have forced its removal from the packs. I do know they fought hard to keep it off of there and eventually lost

??? The case focuses on the interaction between a federal law that regulates labeling and advertising of cigarettes and a state law ? Maine‘s Unfair Trade Practices Act ? that permits lawsuits based upon deceptive commercial practices. A federal Judge had originally thrown the case out only to have the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston reinstate the case. This case could be decided as early as this spring.

??? If you are trying to quit, more power to you as I know you need all the help and encouragement you can get. Nicotine is a tough habit to kick. Even if you are not trying but especially if you are even considering smoking cessation I have a little challenge for you today. Let’s see how long you can go without a cigarette. An hour, two, maybe three. The longer you prove to yourself you can go without a cigarette the easier it gets. I am a little over two weeks into quitting and I still find myself reaching for a smoke. But I have been able to resist by will power and lying to myself. If you need help there are lots of groups that will help you. Try your local health department they should have a group or know where ones are located. Feel free to message me or leave a remark. A good blog that might help you is Quit Smoking Together. Let me know how it goes.

The voters spoke loud and clear here in South Carolina yesterday. It was Barak Obama winning by a very convincing margin 55% to Obama, 27% to Clinton and 18% to Edwards. Obama carried every county in the state except two. One of which was won by Clinton and the other one was carried by Edwards. Obama was expected to do well with black voters and he did that and more. He also carried predominantly white districts also. Some of these districts had 8% or less voters registered that were non white and he still won these by a wide margin. I am very proud of my home state and their non prejudiced voting. I must admit I was semi prejudiced in voting for Edwards as he was born in South Carolina. As for the issue of color – the only color that ever mattered to me was green – I am all about making money, and do not care about the color of your skin.

This huge margin of victory may very well carry over into victories on the 5th of February when there will be 24 states having primaries. Two states are Republican only primaries with three states holding only Democratic primaries. In a little over a week we will know, or have a good idea who will most likely come out on top heading into the conventions. I am sure Hillary will not back off yet nor will Edwards but this does put them both at a disadvantage right now.

super tuesday states

You can listen to Senator Barak Obama‘s Victory Speech below.


The polls opened up here in South Carolina at seven am and will close at seven pm. The democratic primary is on todays agenda. We are looking at three closely matched opponents. Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and John Edwards are the three heavyweights on the card for today. I really like the fact that all three are for universal health care for all citizens. I did not like the way Hillary and Obama bickered and tossed about dirty laundry aimed towards each other, especially at the Myrtle Beach debate earlier this week. I was kinda leaning towards Edwards before the debate and he solidified those feelings by his straight forward answers and his affiliation with the poor and working poor. There are lots of people in the working poor classification. Work all week and work hard and still barely make enough to scrape by. And with the economy the way it is there is very little prospect for it to change for them either.

Even though I could vote for any of these three come November I am hoping that Edwards gets the nod and then he might select one of his opponents as a running mate. I am afraid that there are still too many people with hidden agendas or prejudices who would not vote for Obama or Clinton simply because of color of skin or the fact she is a female. I myself think all three would do a good job and be beneficial for the common citizen and not be in the corporate lobbyist back pockets like the present administration is. I do not see how the country can stand 4 more years like the ones we have had under this Republican administration. For the largest portion of Bush’s tenure he had a fully compliant Republican majority in both houses and could get anything he wanted passed and has acted with impunity since being elected.

The way I look at it, it seems to be a double standard from the republicans who controlled the Congress up until the last election. When we had Clinton tell a little lie about a sexual tryst with a young intern. Something most men would lie about initially, especially if they did not want their wives to find out about it – we had weeks of an impeachment and the hearings on tv dragging out the gory details of the tryst. Yet Bush has stood up and told a couple hundred lies while in office. Now some of them might have been the same lie over again but he did lay it on pretty damn thick to get us into a war we can not win. We are referees in a civil war as it stands. We can not afford to write a blank check for any and all expenditures they can think of for the war and then not have money for simple things the common people need. It is unconscionable.

Here we go again with anti eco system policies, 3.4 million acres in Alaska‘s Tongass National Forest will be open to logging under a Bush Administration plan. Once more it seems that the Bush administration is in big corporations back pockets. They are backing a plan to open up 3.4 million acres acres of wild, road less back country areas open to clear cutting and new logging roads. It includes 2.4 million acres that are considered very remote and unmolested by man. At more than 26,000 square miles, the Tongass – often labeled the crown jewel in the national forest system – is larger than 10 states.

Christy Goldfuss with Environment America had this to say, “This plan simply ignores economic realities. Logging these pristine areas makes no sense”. He – like most environmentalists – fear that the proposal will devastate the forest. Just more of a Bush administration policy of catering to the timber industry.

The plan released Friday stems from a series of lawsuits filed by environmental groups in 2003, which forced the Forest Service to adjust its timber sale program away from roadless areas to land that can be reached by roads that meander for 3,700 miles through the southeast Alaska forest.

In 2005, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a 2003 plan on grounds that the Forest Service had mistakenly doubled the volume of timber needed to supply local sawmills and failed to consider better protections for roadless areas.

Hopefully they will get this one halted as well. There is plenty of forest accessable by roads that they do not need to open up our pristine forest to the greed of big timber companies.

I am making it official. I am or have quit smoking cigarettes. The last cigarette I had was while watching a Wednesday night basketball game a fortnight ago. Making it official already leaves a gnawing feeling in my gut just thinking about it. My problem is that I actually like smoking but know it is bad for me. And this time I am going to demand of myself that another method of smoking not take its place, like cigars or a pipe. And defiantly not any left hand rolled cigarettes either.

What started out as a feel bad day where I did not even go outside until nearly three in the afternoon and deciding upon a lark that I was going to try to make it through the end of the day without smoking. Well I made it though that day without a lot of problems as I spent very little time out of the house and even though I was smoking I forbid it in the house. It did create a good bit of friction between myself and my son when he was still living at home cause he would sneak and smoke and think I wouldn’t know it. I grew up in a house that always had smoke in it and had that ashtray smell. Its funny cause I tried my best to talk my momma out of smoking to no avail as she smoked her Winstons from the time I was a child until the day she passed on to the hands of the Lord. I hated them back then and the way they smelled and the acrid smoke burning at my eyes and nose. But by time I was a teenager I was smoking them myself. First off we would steal a few out of mom or pops pack and sneak out back or into the woods for our smoke. About that time we also would smoke rabbit tobacco from a corn cob pipe. Then onto Prince Albert or Velvet tobacco either hand rolled or in the pipe.

By that time we had already been caught a couple of times and punished to no avail. Pop tried to wipe out the urge to smoke by forcing us to smoke a cigar each. Only problem with his reasoning there was that we had been smoking harsher smokes than that so it did not have the desired effect of getting us sick. I always had some money because I would work doing anything I could such as grass cutting or onto the fields where I picked beans, squash, tomatoes etc to pay for my habit and they were cheap back then. When I started smoking cigarettes were 3 packs for a dollar here in South Carolina and even cheaper in North Carolina which is only a short ride for us. Mom and Pop would stock up by spending twenty bucks and getting 8 cartons of cigarettes. And they both smoked the same brand so there wasn’t the problem of one smoking more that the other and running out before the other did.

Well enough of that as it is long past and nothing can be changed. The only things we can change are what lies in the present and the future. I wasn’t actually planning on quitting at all. As a matter of fact I have a full carton of my full flavor non filter cigarettes in the freezer. I quit with two open packs in my pockets. Even carried two lighters, a zippo and a bic. I kept lying to myself that I would allow myself a smoke after a certain length of time or after a task was completed. Then I would lie some more. My wife brought me a few handfuls of after dinner mints from her job and they helped me some. I did see exactly how much smoking is just a useless habit and how I would reach for one after ever little task or while waiting on something. I would open up a program and light a cigarette – take a few puffs off of it and lie it in the ashtray – Next thing I would do was pick it up to see it had burned nearly to the end wasting most of it while I was busy.

There are lots of methods of smoking cessation and they are proven effective but for me it was easiest to quit cold turkey. As long as I smoked any I was going to smoke a pack or two a day, or at least burn that many up as I am not sure how many I would waste while working on a web page or other task on the computer. I have my computer in my own private out building so I could smoke all I wanted to down here.

My advise if you want to quit would be to first thing make up your mind that you really want to quit. Then forbid smoking inside your house force yourself to go to a garage or outbuilding to smoke and especially in the winter time you are more likely to hurry back into the house where it is warm. That one by itself will force you to cut down on the amount you smoke. Plus if you share the home with anyone else you will be doing them a favor as second hand smoke is deadly too.

Maybe looking at what it is doing to your lungs will help you. It helped me once before as I had a relapse of smoking after going 20 years cigarette free though not entirely tobacco free. I found some pictures online at QuitSmokingSupport. I had a pair of pictures showing a healthy lung compared to a diseased smokers lung and every time I would reach for my smokes (I had them next to the pics) I would see the pictures and not light up. Another thing is not to worry that if you quit you will gain weight. Which would you rather do gain 10 or 12 pounds or have smokers lungs shortening your breath and life.

I would be glad to talk to you and try and help you get your mind right for quitting cigarettes at almost any time. I would also love to hear your stories and experiences quitting smoking. If you want to talk just leave a comment and tell me so and I will get back to you. I did it and it wasn’t too bad just hard at points when you automatically reach for them like after eating. You can do it and you will feel better for it also. I can already tell my breathing is better. And thats just 2 weeks into a lifetime of no longer smoking.

??? For the second time in three months the House failed to override President Bush‘s veto of a bill that would increase spending on the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). They have already passed a scaled back version and it has been signed into law. But after only missing the override by 13 votes they attempted the override again but this time lost ground and fell 15 votes shy of overriding the veto. The result was pretty much expected, even as override supporters pointed to the slowing economy as another reason to spend another $35 billion on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program over the next five years. Rep. James Clyburn, from here in South Carolina said “Hardworking American families are struggling and in dire need of assistance.” According to White House press secretary Dana Perino “He [Bush] is pleased the House of Representatives voted today to sustain his veto of misguided legislation that would have expanded SCHIP to higher income households while increasing taxes”. Myself I agree with Representative Clyburn and feel they should extend health care to more children. Personally I feel that all Americans should be eligible for health care when they need it. Too many hard working people have pretty much lost every thing when them or their spouse gets sick. Even with health care the co payments can be so high that the sick person can not afford the treatments. It is very easy for members of Congress to sit on their high perch and denounce universal health care as socialism. They have great health care provided by us. They have nothing to worry about if them or someone in their family gets sick as their coverage is fantastic.

??? In other news on the health care issue President Bush is threatening to veto a bill to designed to improve health care on American Indian reservations. The legislation would boost screening and mental health programs at the Indian Health Service, increase tribal access to Medicare and Medicaid and prompt new construction and modernization of health clinics on reservations. The Senate began consideration of the legislation Tuesday. Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said the bill is a first step in addressing the “crisis” in American Indian health care. The system is underfunded and inefficient, he said.

??? Pretty much business as usual from the Bush camp. No expense is spared for the war mongers and their cronies who are making money off the blood of others. But when it comes to spending some money on health care for those who really need it or a similar issue we can not afford it. It seems to me to be a double standard. Where is the compassion for our fellow man. Hopefully this election sees a change from top to bottom of our elected officials. My advise to you if you feel like I do on this issue is to register and vote for candidates who feel like you do on this issue.

Another cold day for us here in SC and another day of my fibro assaulting me. That and the fact that they let me run out of part of the meds for my bipolar had me out of sorts so to speak. After years of denying it even to myself I finally got on what appears to be the right chemical cocktail and it keeps my moods pretty well stabilized. I used to be a holy terror with my radical mood swings and ill temper. Now I stay on a pretty even keel and life is much better for me and my family around me. Now if my body would cooperate I would be quite happy most of the time.
I did manage to stay awake long enough to watch most of the debate from Myrtle Beach. Nothing new there, just a lot of bickering between Hillary and Obama. Edwards came out smelling like a rose, with what little camera time he was able to get. I do like the fact that they all three are for universal health care. I don’t see how countries like England, France, and Canada can give their citizens health care and we can’t. Even Cuba can give health care to its citizens. Not so sure about Cuba but the life expectancy is higher in France, England and Canada than ours. Maybe – not having to worry that you may one day get sick and lose everything you have worked for all your life – has a calming effect upon your soul.
John McCain won the Republican Primary on Saturday. We will find out who wins the Democratic Primary next Saturday. We still have a long run to the final votes are cast in November. But unless things change drastically I don’t think the Republicans can muster enough Independents to retain the Whitehouse.
Thats just my opinion on the race this year. But with the way the country is going as well as unrest about the war I think they will have a hard time mustering enough voters to vote any Republican into the Presidency.